|Publication number||US20050044535 A1|
|Application number||US 10/645,889|
|Publication date||Feb 24, 2005|
|Filing date||Aug 20, 2003|
|Priority date||Aug 20, 2003|
|Also published as||US7712083|
|Publication number||10645889, 645889, US 2005/0044535 A1, US 2005/044535 A1, US 20050044535 A1, US 20050044535A1, US 2005044535 A1, US 2005044535A1, US-A1-20050044535, US-A1-2005044535, US2005/0044535A1, US2005/044535A1, US20050044535 A1, US20050044535A1, US2005044535 A1, US2005044535A1|
|Original Assignee||Acres Gaming Incorporated|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (20), Referenced by (18), Classifications (5), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention pertains to monitoring software for a variety of conditions such as internal performance characteristics, liability warnings, programmatic errors and the general health of the computer system.
No matter the computer program, it is inevitable that there will be some bugs (that is, coding errors that cause the program to behave differently what is expected). Production environments represent a number of variables that are difficult to reproduce in testing environments. As such, applications with thousands of interfaces can fail under a variety of changing variables.
Because human intervention is required to maintain these applications, certain tasks must be completed by operations on a timely basis. Failure to operate and maintain the system within the published guidelines for the application will result in a number of unacceptable issues. These include, but are not limited to the following: inaccurate reporting of revenues; increased risks associated with liability; increased risks with system availability; and increased costs due to additional manpower correction activities.
Customers want to know that their mission critical system is performing at peak levels of performance. They want to know when an area of the system is failing. They need to feel confident that the system and its integration with operations are running smoothly. Not knowing the health of the internal components of the system can create a false sense of security.
Another thing software companies sometimes do to eliminate defects is to find out about defects from customers. For a long time, customers had to make contact with the software companies (either by telephone or by e-mail) and let the software companies know about the bugs. More recently, as exemplified by Microsoft® Windows® XP, the operating system offers to send an error report to the software company when a program crashes. That way, the software company is informed about serious errors. (Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.)
Some third party products that monitor the operation of systems from the outside exist. For example, Netcool, by Micromuse, collects information from APIs, log files, and other utilities, and forwards this information to a server for filtering. Patrol, by BMC Software, offers remote monitoring and full-application management. But both of these products are external to the applications being monitored. These products focus primarily on external environments surrounding the application. They cannot detect the internal health of the application itself and thus their reporting value is limited in scope.
A need remains for a way to proactively detect application problems and software defects through monitoring internal application performance beyond that associated with the prior art.
The invention is an apparatus, system, and method for monitoring computers. A series of probes residing on a customer's computer determines values for metrics and sends these values to a monitoring apparatus. The monitoring apparatus determines if the values for the metrics are acceptable. If the values for the metrics are not acceptable, then an alert is displayed so that a corrective measures can be initiated.
The foregoing and other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Installed on computers 110, 115, and 120 are probes 125, 130, and 135. Probes 125, 130, and 135 are responsible for determining the values associated with various metrics on computers 110, 115, and 120 respectively, and transmitting these values back to server 105. The details of probes 125, 130, and 135 are discussed further with reference to
Server 105 includes monitoring apparatus 140. Monitoring apparatus 140 receives information from probes 125, 130, and 135, and determines whether the data received from the probes represent acceptable values. If the values are acceptable, then monitoring apparatus 140 logs the values. Otherwise, monitoring apparatus displays 140 an alert, indicating the unacceptable value. The details of monitoring apparatus 140 are discussed further with reference to
Connecting server 105 with computers 110, 115, and 120 is network 145. Network 145 can be any variety of network including, among others, a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), a global network (such as the Internet), and a wireless network (for example, using Bluetooth or any of the IEEE 802.11 standards). In addition, a person skilled in the art will recognize that different networks can be used to connect server 105 with different computers. For example, server 105 might be connected to computer 110 using one network, and to computers 115 and 120 using a second network.
To determine whether a value is acceptable, monitoring apparatus 140 uses database 230. Database 230 includes filters, such as filters 235, 240, and 245, which identify what values are considered acceptable. Different filters exist for different metrics. For example, filter 235 is a filter for the number of transactions occurring at a given location, whereas filter 245 is a filter for the number of open days experienced at a location.
Some filters, such as filter 245, can be used for all casino locations. But other metrics, such as the number of transactions, can vary from one location to another. To account for differing interpretations of acceptable values, different filters can be set up for a single metric, each filter identifying acceptable values for a different casino location. Thus, while filters 235 and 240 both represent acceptable values for the transactions metric, they represent acceptable values for different casinos.
Although a different filter can be set up for each different site for a given metric, the amount of variation in acceptable values might be limited. Where two or more sites agree on what constitutes an acceptable value for a given metric, there is no need for each site to have a separate filter. Thus, while
To select the appropriate filter, monitoring apparatus 140 uses selector 250. Selector 250 uses information from the message to select the appropriate metric. Selector 250 determines the metric represented in the message and, if necessary, the site from which the metric was measured. Selector 250 then uses these pieces of information to find the appropriate filter in database 230, so that tester 210 can determine if the value is acceptable.
Because sensor measurements are taken more than once, each of sensors 305, 310, and 315 includes a corresponding timer 330, 335, and 340. The timers ensure that the sensors take measurements according to regular schedules. Each timer can be set to measure a metric using different intervals. But a person skilled in the art will recognize that, for sensors measuring metrics according to consistent schedules, a single timer can be used for more than one sensor.
Additionally, sensors can trigger on two different mechanisms. They can be triggered on a timer or they can be triggered by an impromptu event. The latter is utilized to signal immediate attention to a critical event that has just taken place.
Finally, probe 125 includes message generator 345. Message generator 345 takes the measurements from the various sensors 305, 310, and 315, and assembles a message from the measurements. The message is then sent to the central server (not shown in
Once message 405 is generated, it is delivered to e-mail server 415. E-mail server is responsible for starting message 405 along its journey to receiver 205 in the central server. Although shown as a component of computer 110, a person skilled in the art will recognize that e-mail server 415 can be part of a separate computer, distinct from computer 110, or can be a dedicated e-mail server. A typical implementation would most likely utilize the customer's existing e-mail implementation. This will provide a number of benefits including a cost savings through the elimination of a second server along with cost avoidance of supporting and maintaining the additional hardware.
At step 625 (
At step 645 (
As shown in
A person skilled in the art will recognize that an embodiment of the invention described above can be implemented using a computer. In that case, the method is embodied as instructions that make up a program. The program may be stored on computer-readable media, such as floppy disks, optical discs (such as compact discs), or fixed disks (such as hard drives), and can be resident in memory, such as random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), firmware, or flash RAM memory. The program as software can then be executed on a computer to implement the method. The program, or portions of its execution, can be distributed over multiple computers in a network.
Having illustrated and described the principles of the invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, it should be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. All modifications coming within the spirit and scope of the accompanying claims are claimed.
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|U.S. Classification||717/127, 714/E11.207|
|May 30, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ACRES GAMING INCORPORATED,NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:COPPERT, MICHAEL P.;REEL/FRAME:017703/0405
Effective date: 20030818
|Jun 13, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: IGT,NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ACRES GAMING INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:017773/0828
Effective date: 20060515
|Nov 4, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4